The pitfall of hiring a Social Media Manager

You were an accomplished business person when social media came into play. And this happens.

You simply do not know what makes a good “social media manager” when you hire them and when you later evaluate them.

It looks important enough that you decide to hire someone to look after it.
Everyone has a mock portfolio and generic dataset to prove hiring a social media professional is worthwhile.
Everyone has education and mock portfolios, and no one has a proven track record.

They kind of all sound the same. 

It’s a whole new position you have to carve out a new budget for without a study on roi or target. Hiring someone for $30,000 is an attractive idea. .
Even though in the beginning you decided to hire someone because you recognised the importance of the position. 

In your defence, the same thing happened before. Especially in newly-created professions, but also in some of the oldest professions.
CSR or “sustainability” manager. Communications manager. Website designer. Even financial planners.

They all work in the intangibles. They all can produce data showing their work had a positive impact and show you examples of how horribly it went for companies that didn’t hire one.
After all, they do not have to worry about losing their job because no one has figured out how to prove their work is subpar and someone else could have done it better.

It results in things like the Earls imported beef flop.
As soon as I saw earls’ release, I tried to contact them and warn them. It had no effect.
Right. As you predicted, my warnings went to those who ran this launch.

This is the problem with those professions where the person who’s running the programs is also receiving complaints and feedback in these programs. You’d have to have faith that this person can prioritise the good for the company over their job security if you put the checks and balances in one person’s hand.

In vancouver where everyone is a couple of pay cheques away from foreclosure, this is a hard ask.

Now, social media is different in two ways than other professions in this category.

1. The method of evaluation is poorly developed, if any. If they do a bad job, it very likely increases the view/comment count. Increased view counts are still used by executives and sponsors as evidence of success even though it is now common knowledge it isn’t the case.

2. No one takes the audience seriously. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are very often the only way the public can communicate with the corporations. Corporations direct the public to use them as a place for dialogue, and the public follows this instruction.
Except the public is only given an illusion of interaction as there is no one but “social media manager” at the end of that line.

public is only given an illusion of interaction

The famous example is the Air Canada twitter account. You post a complaint to their twitter account. They reply and tell you to “follow and DM” because they really really think they can help. This is a ruse to get you off the public forum. Once on DM, a private direct message, they tell you to contact the Air Canada counter at the airport.
You send a complaint about this scheme, and the complaint goes to the person you’re complaining about. You send a complaint to the corporation, and you get a response saying that your complaint has been foreword to the person you’re complaining about. 
There is specifically no checks or balances. And it’s designed to be this way because they see no value in social media audience. This is when something like this keeps on happening for months and months, complaints mounting as comments that are counted as proof positive.

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That’s when something like this goes on for months and months with dozens of comments

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